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Zizyphus-Zygophyllum (Sturtevant, 1919)

Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Zizyphus-Zygophyllum (Sturtevant, 1919)

Zizyphus agrestis Roem. & Schult.


China and Cochin China. The globose, red drupe is eatable.

Zizyphus joazeiro Mart.

Brazil. This plant is recommended as yielding fruit in arid regions.

Zizyphus jujuba Lam.


East Indies and Malay; cultivated generally in the East Indies. More than 1200 years ago this plant was introduced into China by way of Persia and now yields an excellent dessert fruit for the Chinese, who recognize many varieties, differing in shape, color and size of the fruits. Those of one variety are called Chinese date. In India, the fruit is more or less globose in the wild and common sorts and is ovoid or oblong in the cultivated and improved plant. The pulp is mealy, sweetish, with a pleasant taste, and, in South India, an oil is extracted from the kernel. Wallich describes a variety which produces a fruit of a long form, about the size of an egg, and which is of excellent quality. A variety with a small, sour berry is a great favorite with the Burmese. In Abyssinia, its fruits are made into a substance like dry cheese. In Mauritius, six varieties are described, of these four are pleasant tasting and two not good.

Zizyphus lotus Lam.


Mediterranean region. The roundish, purplish fruit has the appearance of olives and a sweet taste resembling figs or dates. According to Theophrastus, the lotos was so common in Zerbi, the island of the Lotophagi, that a Roman army on its way to Carthage was nourished several days on its fruit. Homer also mentions this attractive fruit, from which Ulysses succeeded, only by violence, in turning away his companions. It forms an important article of food in Tunis and Barbary and is also cultivated in southern Europe at the present time.

Zizyphus lycioides A. Gray.

Texas and the neighboring Mexican states. The plant bears round, black, edible but rather astringent berries, about the size of a rifle ball, which are called gerambuyo prieto and cornudo de cuervo.

Zizyphus mucronata Willd.

Tropical Africa, Cape of Good Hope and Senegal. The red fruit is eaten and is used in Africa for making into a bread and also for the preparation of a pleasant beverage.

Zizyphus napeca Willd.

East Indies. The fruit is the size of a pea, smooth, shining, black. The taste is acid and astringent, but it is eaten by the natives.

Zizyphus obtusifolia A. Gray.

Texas. The large, round, black berries are eaten by Mexicans although nearly tasteless.

Zizyphus oxyphylla Edgew.

Himalayan region. The very acid fruit is eaten.

Zizyphus reticulata DC.

South America. The fruit is eatable.

Zizyphus rotundifolia Lam.

Persia and East Indies. The fruit is eaten and during famines has supported thousands. The taste is sweet and acidulous.

Zizyphus rugosa Lam.

East Indies and Burma. The fruit is eaten but has a peculiar, mawkish flavor. The fruit is yellow and the size of a small cherry.

Zizyphus sativa Gaertn.


Mediterranean and temperate Asia. The jujube is indigenous in Syria, in the Himalayas, in Greece and is cultivated on both shores of the Mediterranean. It has been naturalized in Italy since the time of Augustus when it was brought from Syria, where it is said to have been brought from India by the way of Palmyra. It is now cultivated in Spain, France and Italy as far north as Genoa. The fruit is scarlet, about an inch long, and has an edible pulp. Brandis says that, while the fruit of the Mediterranean variety is sweet, that of the Indian variety is acid but well flavored. This shrub was introduced into South Carolina in 1837, and the seed was distributed from the Patent Office in 1855.

Zizyphus spina-christi Willd.


North Africa and the Orient. The fruit is oblong, about the size of a sloe of Egypt and Arabia.

Zizyphus xylopyrus Willd.

East Indies. The fruits are not eaten by men but the kernels are.

Zostera marina Linn.


Europe. In the outer Hebrides, the root of this plant, which after storms is cast upon the shores in great abundance, is chewed for the saccharine juice which it contains. The plant is much used as a manure.

Zygophyllum coccineum Linn.


North Africa and Arabia. The aromatic seeds are employed by the Arabs in the place of pepper.

Zygophyllum fabago Linn.


Spain, north Africa and western Asia. The flowers are used as a caper substitute.